15 Unmissable Things To Do In Philadelphia At Night
With so many amazing museums, historical districts, and parks, Philadelphia is a world-class city during the day. But Philadelphia at night is just as much fun, especially considering many of its strong points become even more fun once the sun sets. Museums become 21+ educational nightclubs. The historic streets are now the stage for spooky walking tours. The waterfront parks welcome food trucks and live entertainment. Everything seems to come to life at night in Philadelphia.
While Philadelphia is far from a clubbing town, craft breweries and restaurants make the nightlife one of the best in the country. There are upscale bistros as well as hole-in-the-walls that foodies from all over the world seek out. Even better, so many of the best nighttime activities are all walkable from the bars and restaurants. This makes Philadelphia the perfect place for a night out, even if you've got bags with you from your day exploring - just find the best location for luggage storage in Philadelphia for you and enjoy your evening!
Here are a few of the most fun things for Philadelphia at night:
Get Some Nighttime History at Independence Hall
If you ever manage to build a time machine, Philadelphia should be your first destination. Can’t swing it? Luckily, Philadelphia has an amazing scene for exploring the city’s colonial history. The Independence After Hours Walking Tour is the perfect mix of entertainment and education.
The tour starts with an 18th Century-inspired dinner with pewter mugs of beer, rotisserie chicken, and soup at City Tavern with the rest of the group. From there you’ll be guided throughout Independence Hall, where there will be a reenactment of local hero Ben Franklin deliberating the signing of the Declaration of Independence with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The performances are convincing, and the museum has a number of outstanding historical features that will get your patriotic side going. This is a popular activity, so booking in advance is recommended.
Take In a Show At One of Philly’s Best Theatres
With such amazing history, architecture, and culture, Philadelphia is an ideal city for a thriving theatre scene. Some of the country’s oldest theatres and companies call Philadelphia's historic district home, such as The Walnut Street Theatre. Many of these theatres are conveniently located on the Avenue of the Arts on South Broad Street near City Hall. You’ll find The Wilma Theater, The Academy of Music, The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and Merriam Theater all within a few blocks of each other. The restaurants and bars surrounding this stretch make for a convenient itinerary.
Here are a few of the most prominent theaters throughout Philadelphia:
Academy of Music - this ornate theater is over 150 years old and its gilded features, velvet curtains, and chandeliers make it a gorgeous setting for the Philadelphia Opera, Ballet, and a rotating program of Broadway shows.
Adrienne Theater - a wide variety of productions call this small theater home, including the ComedySportz improv troupe and the MacGuffin Theatre Company for children’s entertainment.
FringeArts - this small theater hosts contemporary performances, concerts, and other avant-garde and experimental events.
Arden Theatre - awarded the “Best of Philly” by Philadelphia Magazine nine times. This theater’s glowing reviews and national recognition are well deserved and it’s definitely worth checking out.
Late Night Bowling at Lucky Strike
With a DJ booth, dance floor, billiards, and table tennis, there’s so much more than lanes and shoe rentals at this late-night bowling alley. This 24-lane bar and entertainment hub more closely resembles a Las Vegas club than the dusty bowling alley in your hometown. Open until 2 AM, you’ll want to pace yourself prior to visiting their Northern Liberties and Center City locations.
Go On An Old Town Art Gallery-Crawl On the First Friday Night
Philadelphia's historic Old Town District is teeming with art galleries, and the sheer number can be daunting for enthusiasts to navigate. Luckily, on the first Friday of every month, more than 40 galleries in the neighborhood open their doors to the general public. Visitors are treated with an immersive experience exploring cultural exhibits, art installations, and a number of other attractions throughout this vibrant arts scene. Market, Vine, Front, and Third Street are the main hotspots. The bars, restaurants, and impressive street food scene throughout Old Town can get crowded with other art aficionados, but the neighborhood makes for the perfect setting for an epic night out in Philadelphia.
Take In a Drag Show
Located in Rittenhouse Square, Bob and Barbara’s Lounge is Philadelphia’s longest-running drag show and a favorite nighttime activity for both locals and tourists. Every Thursday, spectators are treated to a song and dance show paired with its irreverent “shot-and-a-beer” atmosphere.
Other drag performances to check out include the Diva Royale Drag Queen Dinner Show, Tabu, and Woody's all in Washington Square West. The Drag Mafia also rotates locations throughout the city.
Boozy Science Class At The Franklin Institute
The Franklin Institute is one of Philadelphia’s best museums, and every quarter they host a Science After Dark series of 21+ events for adults looking to tap into their inner 12-year old science nerd. Educational games, demonstrations, exhibits, performances like Speakeasy Wizard School, and a chemistry-lab Holiday Bizarre abound. And, the whole venue is stocked with a full bar. Tickets sell out fast, so definitely plan ahead!
Ghost Tour of Philadelphia's Historic District
This locally owned-and-operated ghost tour company has been spooking both locals and tourists for almost 30 years. This walking tour will take you through the historic district of Philadelphia’s darkest nooks and crannies, including infamous back streets, haunted houses, secret gardens, and other supernatural hot spots.
The knowledgeable, and at times hilarious, tour guides will walk you through one of Philadelphia’s graveyards, telling the tales of ill-fated residents and historical figures. There are even tours that will also take you through Washington Square, Independence Hall, and Society Hill. Regardless of your belief in ghosts or the supernatural, these walking tours are a fun way to view the city’s most historic districts. If you do believe in life after death, then this is a can’t-miss way to experience Philadelphia at night.
U-Bahn Nightclub and Arcade
This industrial nightclub will transport you to a dance party set in a Berlin subway station. The decor is gritty, with metro signage, and graffiti-tagged walls surrounding several bar areas, a dance floor, an extensive craft beer menu, and a number of vintage arcade games. There’s no need to pick between the DJ set or Mortal Kombat because while the energy is high at U-Bahn, the clientele is fun and laid back.
U-Bahn is located steps from Philadelphia City Hall and Independence Mall on Chestnut Street, so it’s an easy destination from just about every neighborhood.
Take a Nighttime River Cruise on The Spirit of Philadelphia
Operating year-round out of Penn’s Landing, The Spirit of Philadelphia has been the best party on the Delaware River for over 50 years. This cruise liner offers dinner, dancing, and special events, all just minutes away from Center City Philadelphia. Whether it’s date night, a family dinner, or a group outing, this is one of the best things to do in Philadelphia at night! The spectacular views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Old City, Delaware River, and Franklin Square are all stunning, and the upscale dinner menu will surprise even the foodies. Keep an eye on their calendar, as there are many special events and offers that coincide with the holidays. The 4th of July celebration is particularly meaningful, considering the city’s prominent place in American History.
Hit Up GLOW, Philly’s Best Trampoline Nightclub
Northeast Philly’s best attraction is the Skyzone Trampoline Park, which becomes GLOW on Friday and Saturday nights. Glow is absolutely decked out in neon, and its blacklight dance party takes clubbing to a whole new dimension. It costs $25 for entry, and after that, you can bounce, flip, and dance to your heart’s content. While fun is the main intention here, jumping up and down is a nice workout, in case you’re trying to work off that Philly cheesesteak.
Spruce Street Harbor Park
Located along the Delaware River at Penn’s Landing, Spruce Street Harbor Park is the perfect place for unwinding after a long day of exploring. There are thousands of lights strung up on the trees, lighting the scene for a lively but relaxing atmosphere. There are hammocks and Adirondack chairs lining the park, so if you get there at the right time, your whole family or group can set up to hang out under the trees and stars. There are plenty of games throughout the park, Jenga being the most popular. You can also channel your inner Italian Grandpa and try your hand at Bocce ball. There are shipping containers set up along the waterfront that have been converted into spaces for food trucks and restaurant pop-ups. The park is free, so it can’t hurt to stroll by and see what fun you can have. It's also walking distance from Franklin Square, Old City, and The Franklin Fountain, so there are a ton of Philly's best destinations nearby.
Named after the first man to cross the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Morgan’s Pier is located right below Philadelphia’s most famous bridge. This pier has been turned into the biggest beer garden in the entire city. Craft beer stands from local companies line the peer alongside food trucks and ice cream vendors. On most Saturday nights, there is live music and DJ sets. While this is most certainly a family-friendly space, Morgan’s Pier becomes a lively party on weekends. It’s one of the best places to spend an afternoon or early evening during the late spring and summer months. The cool breeze off the Delaware River will offer a refreshing respite from the sweltering Philly summer. The Delaware River and Benjamin Franklin Bridge also look amazing at night. With Old City, Independence National Historical Park, and Franklin Square all within a minute's walk, this is a perfect place to explore.
Test Your Luck at SugarHouse Casino
Philadelphia has but one casino within city limits, and it’s located right on the Delaware River near Fishtown, and open 24 hours a day. It’s a full-service casino, so you’ll have slots, table games, and everything else one would expect. There are a number of upscale restaurants onsite, but being located next to the foodie haven Fishtown neighborhood, you can stop by one of their many great restaurants for dinner on your way to the casino. SugarHouse Casino also hosts concerts and comedy events, so you can certainly make a night out of it!
Learn How To Craft Your Own Glass Art (Without Setting Yourself On Fire)
Jim Loewer Glass Company not only crafts some of the best glass pieces and art in Philadelphia, and they also offer glass blowing classes every evening to private groups and the general public. There are classes for all skill levels, but their beginner classes have an inviting and fun atmosphere and helpful instructors. You’ll learn skills like manipulating the glass blowing rods, and each guest will leave there with a small piece of glass they created themselves. There are also demonstrations so groups can watch master glassblower Jim work his magic. These demonstrations are BYOB, so it’s a fun group activity for Saturday night.
Hit Up The Area’s Best Outdoor Entertainment Center ArtsQuest at SteelStacks
Located in the Lehigh Valley, the SteelStacks development project has transformed Bethlehem Steel’s old factory into one of the Philadelphia area’s largest entertainment pavilions. The ArtsQuest Center holds dozens of festivals and events throughout the year including live music, tours, outdoor film screenings, an Oktoberfest beer garden party, and many other events. ArtsQuest holds a fantastic event basically every weekend in the spring and summer months. It’s definitely worth checking out their stacked calendar of programming.
There are so many fun things to do in Philadelphia at night. Many of them don’t involve partying or nightlife, and some of them do. Regardless of how you choose to spend your evenings in the City of Brotherly Love, you will absolutely have a blast! So let one of our baggage storage spots take care of the luggage while you explore Old City, drink beer at a science museum, or take a tour of Philly’s most haunted corners.